Brentford FC – 125th Anniversary Book – 9/9/14

BBB70 Cover

Well, I suppose it happens to all authors but I can’t say that it didn’t come as a bit of a shock and blow to my pride and ego to see a photo of my books lying on the remaindered pile.

I have just read a news item on the Brentford FC website announcing that a limited number of copies of The Big Brentford Book of the Seventies and The Big Brentford Book of the Eighties are now available at a reduced price at the Bees Superstore.

Not just any old reduced price but they are both on sale for just £17.99 each – a massive discount off the cover prices of £27.50 and £29.99 respectively and if I might say so myself, the new prices represent a ridiculous bargain!

For those amongst you who don’t already know, The Big Brentford Book series has now run to three editions – a 368-page journey through the 1970s, a 474-page trip through the 1980s and a 552-page look at the 1990s.

They were a collaboration between Brentford fans Mark Croxford, Dave Lane and myself and each book contains a heady brew of match reports, player profiles, diaries, rare photographs and much more besides.

The Big Brentford Book of the Nineties is also available to buy at the Club Shop for £35.

80s Book Cover

No discount there then!

Mention of our first three books naturally leads onto a sneak preview of what is happening next on the Brentford book front.

Well, after we finished the first three editions of the Big Brentford Book series, and whilst we waited (so far in vain) for the royalty payments to start pouring in, Dave Lane, Mark Croxford and I – The Three Amigos and intrepid authors – met to decide our next steps.

There were several options.

90s

We could simply continue with The Noughties which would surely be the obvious solution, as well as the natural progression from the first three books.

Obvious it might have been, but in truth, it was an option that had little appeal to any of us because the memories of that decade remain so vivid and fresh and have already been covered to death elsewhere given the plethora of blogs, websites, photos, club publications and the onslaught of social media.

Maybe one day when the dust has settled we will come back to the Noughties, and the decade of Paul Evans, Steve Coppell, Wally Downes, Jamie Cureton, Martin Allen and Andy Scott, and so many more, will live again!

We also had a small but vociferous demand for a Big Brentford Book of the Sixties, and for a while that book seemed a distinct possibility.

Whilst that decade seems like only yesterday to me, as it was when I started my unrequited love affair with the club, and all that it stands for, in truth, we are talking about an era over fifty years removed from today.

To my horror I discovered that so many key Brentford personalities and favourites from that decade have already passed on.

Icons such as Tom Higginson, Ken Coote, Mel Scott, Chic Brodie, Jimmy Bloomfield and Ian Lawther have all died, and we realise that we will have to move fairly quickly if more memories of that tumultuous decade are not to be lost for ever.

A year or so ago, by dint of some intrepid detective work, we managed to unearth Jack Dunnett, still hale and hearty and remarkably lucid at ninety-two years of age.

Dave and I conducted a truly remarkable interview with the former Brentford chairman who was the instigator and at the forefront of the 1967 abortive QPR takeover and, believe me, what he had to say was absolute dynamite and must see the light of day – as indeed it will.

Despite that, we decided to place a 60s book on hold as we remain unconvinced of its commercial viability.

Compiling, writing and designing a Big Brentford Book is a back breaking, time consuming, tortuous if totally exhilarating and rewarding task and to be frank, we have barely made back our initial financial investment despite the overwhelmingly favourable reviews each of the books has received.

Obviously there are not quite as many book reading Brentford fanatics out there as we thought and hoped!

The next suggestion was the most intriguing one, a book covering the Harry Curtis Years.

For all his wonderful success during his long spell at the club, taking the club from the depths of the Third Division to near the top of the First, there is really not much that has been written about the incredible exploits of Harry Curtis outside the local press.

We all feel that this is a subject worth getting our teeth into.

A labour of love – certainly, but a worthwhile one all the same.

Then the decision was taken out of our hands.

We were well aware that 2014 is the 125th anniversary of our great club and we were waiting to hear what plans Brentford had to commemorate this milestone.

Well, we soon found out, as we were approached by the club and asked to provide our recommendations for a suitable publication to mark this anniversary.

Given the quality of the “100 Years of Brentford Book” as well as Dan Jackson’s “Positively Brentford” photographic record, we had to tread carefully as we had no wish to replicate either of these two exceptional efforts.

Slowly, as if by osmosis, the answer came.

We would uncover and discover all of those long lost, never or rarely seen treasures from the club’s long history.

We did not want to merely produce a year-by-year historical book, but instead we would take some of the key moments from the distant as well as recent past, and try to bring them back to life.

This has meant Mark and Dave trawling through the records and old newspapers at Hounslow Library as well as approaching some other supporters who possess private collections of club memorabilia, and inveigling them to allow us to include their prize possessions within the book.

We have now collected and collated a myriad of wonderful material comprising never before seen photographs dating back to the turn of the 20th century, old season tickets, club badges, cigarette cards, poetry, club records, cartoons, caricatures and newspaper clippings which, when put together, will produce a mesmerising cornucopia of riches.

As with anything done by Dave Lane, the book will be beautifully designed and produced and will delight, charm and captivate everyone who is fortunate enough to obtain a copy.

The book is totally original in scale and scope and there truly has never been anything done like this before.

We are currently putting the finishing touches to the book and ensuring that it also does justice to more recent times and generations.

The book will be available in November, in time for the Anniversary Dinner, and is a must for every true Brentford supporter.

Now you know what to ask for at Christmas!

Believe me, it will be well worth it.

So, I am afraid that Harry Curtis will have to wait for just a little bit longer! 

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